SCCC lose 3-4 in a tense Final of the CA GC Federation Shield

In a very tense, close finish, SCCC were pipped to the post by Phyllis Court 3-4, in the Final of the CA GC Federation Shield at Henley-on-Thames on Thursday 16 September.
Facing a strong home team who lined up with three players on minus 2 handicap (Chris Roberts, Roger Goldring – who had won the CA GC National Handicap Championship just 5 days earlier - & Ian Norris) and Raghu Iyer (3), SCCC expected a tough day. SCCC brought in Roger Sutton (-1), in place of Simon Ancell who was away, to join Tony Jolly (2), David King (3) & Linda Gavigan (7). How would the handicap differences and the extra turns pan out?
After an early departure, heavy traffic and blocked lanes had hindered both SCCC cars on the journey, meaning a delayed start. In the morning doubles, Tony Jolly & David King held off the challenge from Roger Goldring & Raghu Iyer to win 7-4, 7-4. In the singles Linda Gavigan , with 9 extra turns, faced the vastly experienced Chris Roberts. Chris used his experience to win the first game by 7-5, but Linda battled back hard with great determination to take the second 7-4. In the other singles Ian Norris had taken the advantage in the first game 7-5, before Roger S fought back to take the second by 7-5. With these two matches in the balance, the pre-booked lunch break was taken with the matches to be completed if necessary.
Play restarted with the afternoon singles matches, with the sound of James Blunt rehearsing for the Henley Festival reverberating across the river. First result decided was Tony pulling off a fine 2-0 win (7-6, 7-4) against Roger G. Next was David winning a 3 game battle after narrowly losing the first at the golden hoop (6-7, 7-4, 7-3) against Ian, to give SCCC a 3-0 lead in completed matches. At that stage the other two matches were still in their second game, Roger a game down to Chris (5-7), and Linda a game up with Raghu (7-5). In those second games, Chris beat Roger 7-6 to win their match 2-0, while Raghu had fought back to win 7-6 against Linda, so levelling their match at 1-1. An hour or so later, unfortunately that game had also gone in favour of Phyllis Court, with the 3rd game won by Raghu (7-3) leaving the overall match score at 3-2 to SCCC. So it was back to the outstanding decider games in both unfinished matches.
A hardy bunch of home supporters had been watching the match with growing interest, and despite the time passing 5.30 and the temperature beginning to drop, showed no sign of leaving. Roger fought hard against Ian, but despite a very tough fight and some good clearances, went down 3-7. This left a weary Linda fighting for her life against Chris, who was really relying on his experience to keep in the game. Even when some very good play eased him into a lead, Linda took advantage of her extra turns to pull herself back to 5-6 before a very relieved Chris took the 12th hoop to win 7-5 and seal the match for Phyllis Court.
The hosts lifted the trophy after this very tough encounter, but the spectators were clearly equally appreciative of the competitive and good play of both teams. A disappointed SCCC team headed for the journey home and the end of what was a very long day.
Report by David King